Be the Force for Unity



Presently, the ecological approach provides strategies that allow the social services organizations to move from a micro level of intervention to a macro level of social treatment. The ecological perspective not only helps the organization impact a client system through policy and planning activities but also through psychotherapy and other micro level approaches. Thus, direct and indirect practice strategies for intervention can be combined into a congruent practice orientation when working with a client system through the ecological approach. The present thinking on the ecological approach suggests that the primary premise explaining human problems is derived from the complex interplay of psychological, social, economic, political and physical forces. Such a framework accords due recognition to the transactional relationship between environmental conditions and the human condition. This perspective allows the social services organization to effectively treat problems and needs of various systemic levels including the individual, family, the small group, and the larger community. In essence, the practitioner can easily shift from a clinical role to a policy and planning role within the board framework of the ecological approach.

Six distinct professional roles have evolved from the ecological framework. These six professional roles allow our organization and staff members to work effectively with five basic client systems-the individual, the family, the small group, the organization, and the community. The six professional roles are defined as follows:







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Professional Roles Within Ecological Framework


Derived from the idea of conference, this role focuses on actions that are taken when the organization serves as the primary source of assistance to the client in problem solving.


The enabler role focuses on actions taken when the organization structures, arranges, and manipulates events, interactions, and environmental variables to facilitate and enhance system functioning.


This role is defined as actions taken when the organization’s object is to link the consumer with goods and services to control the quality of those goods and services.


This role focuses on actions taken when the organization’s objective is to reconcile opposing or disparate points of view and to bring the contestants together in united action.


This role defined as actions taken when the organization secures services or resources on behalf of the client in the face of identified resistance or develops resources or services in cases where they are inadequate or non-existent.


The role of guardian is defined as actions taken when the organization performs in a social control function or takes protective action when the client’s competency level is deemed inadequate.

Critical Systems Framework

Property & Land

Property and Land symbolizes the access that members of certain communities have to wealth and power or control and ownership.

Wealth & Power

Inequality and injustice that results from the disproportion of power or access to resources, often in the form of racial disparities.


How and where people live as a result of the balance of wealth and power.

Race & Culture

Values placed on characteristics such as skin color, language, religion, and customs that create norms and influence how a system operates.

Rules ,Policies & Procedures

Rules are created by institutions to protect the interests of certain populations or other institutions. They also govern conduct, action, and procedures as it relates to access to information, land, or expression of ideas/values.


Institutions are the enforcer of systems. They are composed of actors who implement rules and regulate processes and procedures.


Interpretation of the present through stories and messages that contribute to public beliefs about certain issues, populations, and places.


Individual events that show trends in conduct, action, and decision making. The interpretation of these events legitimizes processes and claims.

The ecological approach defines the problems of clients in new ways and thus demands enlightened strategies for effective social work intervention.

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Organizing Theme

Behavioral Setting

The behavioral setting is more than the behaviorist’s conceptualization of behavior as a stimulus-response relationship, but rather is an inextricably interwoven relationship of physical setting, time, people, and individual behavior.


A client functions in more than one ecology. The client’s ecosystem is the interrelationships and conglomeration of these ecologies. A client’s ecosystem consists of the self, family, the neighborhood, and the entire community.


Through the concept of transaction, the ecological approach shifts the focus of treatment from the client’s personality and behavioral make-up to the client’s interrelationship with the family, community, and other systems.

Transactional Process

Traditional theories such as psychoanalysis, behavioral modification, reality therapy and so on, are dated when using the ecological perspective in social work practice. Our organization must conceptualize treatment as a strategy that involves working with individuals, families, small groups, and larger social systems to create change that promotes the best possible transactions between people and their environments. It is an orientation that implements an integrative approach to practice stressing a dynamic combination of roles that meet the needs of clients by alleviating stress in ways that enhance or strengthen the inherent capacities of the client system. The ecological approach addresses solutions and prevention of problems at all levels of intervention-intrapersonal, familial, interpersonal, organizational, institutional, and societal. By utilizing an integrative practice approach grounded in the ecological perspective, more than one aspect of a given problem confronting a client system may be dealt with simultaneously.

Core Characteristics

The environment is a complex environment-behavior-person whole, consisting of a continuous, interlocking process of relationships, not arbitrary dualism.

The mutual interdependence among person, behavior, and environment is emphasized.

Systems concepts are used to analyze the complex interrelationship with the ecological whole.

Behavior is recognized to be site specific.

Assessment and evaluation should be through the naturalistic, direct observation of the intact, undisturbed, natural organism-environment

The relationship of the parts within the ecosystem is considered to be orderly, structured, lawful, and deterministic.

Behavior results from mediated transactions between the person and the multivariate environment.

The central task of behavioral science is to develop taxonomies of environments, behaviors, and behavior-environment linkages and to determine their distribution in the natural world.

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